/\/ Codex \/\
John de Rivaz
John at longevb.demon.co.uk
Mon Oct 16 06:03:28 EST 1995
Special International Report
Changing the Rules:
How Rewriting the Codex Alimentarious
Could Change the Way We Get Dietary Supplements
by Suzanne Harris, J.D.
Almost entirely unnoticed and unreported by magazines and
organizations that are interested in health freedom, the little known
Codex Alimentarious Commission in Rome is studying a proposal from the
German Government that could radically change the availability of dietary
supplements to consumers around the world.
Because of the potential significance of these proposals, Health
Keeper's Journal has prepared this special international update in order
to keep our readers fully informed on issues and events that matter.
K.D.: Suzanne, can you explain to our readers how the Codex works and why
its activities are so important?
S.H. Yes. It is important to remind our readers that in the post- GATT
world, some very important things occur at the international level. Under
the new GATT, all member nations including the United Nations and most of
Europe must avoid creating trade barriers that impede the flow of food
stuffs and other food products in international trade. Under the new GATT,
each nation must review its regulations that govern the manufacture and
importation of foods so that its rules conform to, are "harmonized" with
the new international standards. Each country can either accept the Codex
Alimentarious standards for food quality, food labeling and food content
and food manufacturing standards, or create its own standards provided the
standards created by the member country are created with conformity with
GATT standards on cost/benefit analysis and GATT standards on creating and
reviewing scientific data in order to engage in risk assessment.
K.D. It sounds like it would be much easier for any country that has
signed the new GATT treaty to just accept the Codex Alimentarious
standards rather than to try to create its own standards.
S.H.: Yes, not only is it easier but its safer too. If any nation
attempts to create its own standards rather than simply follow the Codex
standards, that nation runs the risk of being sanctioned (fined) by the
new World Trade Organization until its standards are brought into
conformity with the new GATT requirements. We need to remember here that
the sanctions can be quite severe. Whole sections of a nation's economy
can be penalized until that nation's regulations are brought into
conformity with GATT.
The whole GATT process makes the content of the Codex Alimentarious
very, very important to the people of each nation that has joined the new
World Trade Association by signing GATT.
K.D.: When the United States signed the new GATT treaty and the treaty was
then ratified by Congress, didn't the Congress know what the Codex
Alimentarious contained? In other words, didn't we know what we were
agreeing to before we signed and ratified the agreement?
S.H.: Yes and no. I'm sure that the leadership of both parties in
Congress knew what the Codex said at the time that Congress ratified the
new GATT treaty. However, what we signed onto was more of an agreement to
engage in a particular type of rule making process rather than an
agreement to follow certain substantive rules that were set in concrete.
We knew when we signed GATT that things like the content of the Codex
Alimentarious will inevitably change over time. What few of us expected
was that the Codex would start to change so rapidly. Lets take a little
time here to talk about how changes are made to the Codex. The Codex
Commission itself consists of "delegates". Each delegation represents
either a country or an international organization. The Commission has
meetings every two years. Any delegation can submit a proposal to change
the content of the Codex. That proposal for change then goes through a
long period of review and each delegate is entitled to submit formal
comments in response to the new proposal. Votes on new proposals are taken
at various stages in the process.
Eventually new parts of the Codex are worked out and made a formal part of
the official Codex Alimentarious.
D.K.: Has something happened at the Codex Commission meeting that is
S.H.: Yes. The German delegation which represents the German government
has proposed that an entirely new set of rules be established that would
govern dietary supplements. The German proposal is called the "Proposed
Draft Guidelines for Dietary Supplements (Vitamins and Minerals)." Within
the German proposal are suggestions that:
1) no dietary supplement be sold for prophylactic (preventive) use or
for therapeutic use. Any dietary supplement for prophylactic or
therapeutic use would automatically be classified as a drug.
2) No dietary supplement sold as a food could exceed potency (dosage)
levels set by the commission,
3) Codex regulations for dietary supplements would become binding. This
means that as to dietary supplements the escape clause in GATT that gives
a nation the ability to set its own standards within the GATT rules would
be eliminated. And an additional hidden effect would be
4) That all new dietary supplements would automatically be banned unless
and until they went through a Codex approval process.
K.D.: This sounds very dangerous. Is there anything that we can do
about this? Should we all write to Congress?
S.H.: On the surface of things, there is very little that we can do about
this. We have effectively given away most of our sovereignty as a nation
on this issue. Congress no longer has the last word here. Instead of a
legislative body writing and reviewing the legislation that matters, these
vital decisions will all be made by an international commission. The
membership of this international commission consists of: country
delegations which as a practical matter means that the entire United
States delegation is being represented by a single delegate from the FDA
and a few pre- approved delegates from international organizations. I've
looked at a partial list of the international organizations that are
allowed to send delegates. Over ninety percent of these international
organizations are manufacturers organizations. The only "consumer"
organization that I saw listed was the International Organization of
Consumers Unions. This means that the general public is virtually
unrepresented at this vital process. Your pet dog or cat has more say on
what he eats for dinner in your kitchen than you or I have in this
Even the FDA has relatively little say on certain key aspects of this
process. for example, the United States delegation was the only
nation-state delegation that opposed the idea of setting up new dietary
supplement standards within the Codex. We were outvoted so the process of
beginning go re-write the Codex on dietary supplements has started over
our protest. The Codex Commission is presently reviewing the German
proposal at what the Codex Commission calls the "step three stage." The
step three stage is very important because it is the point at which a
proposal is formalized and written responses and debate over the specific
features of the new proposal are discussed.
I doubt writing to Congress will do much good at this point. It is
doubtful too that writing to the FDA will help much although writing to
the FDA is a good place to start doing the things that we have to do in
order to try to defeat this project.
D.K.: Can you tell us step by step what we can and should do?
S.H.: Yes. First:
1) Write or fax to Dr. Robert Moore, Office of Special
Nutritionals, HFS-356, 200 C Steet, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20204, fax:
(202)205-5295 before October 18, 1995.
Tell Dr. Moore that you are opposed to
1) making the Codex standards for dietary supplements
2) setting International potency/dose limitations on
3) classifying dietary supplements for
prophylactic/preventive use in drugs;
4) any rule or regulation that would result in
automatically classifying new dietary supplements as drugs. [Note: Your
fax or letter will be most effective if received by the FDA before October
18th, however, you may still be able to make some difference if you write
or fax before November 30th.]
I should add that there is much more that needs to be done here. We
need to establish a serious study group that takes a thorough and hard
1) the new European Union regulations on dietary supplements,
2) thoroughly studies all the various Codex and GATT related
international proposals regarding dietary supplements and studies the new
structure that are being put into place to design this and other
Coming up in the next issue of Health Keeper's Journal:
New International proposals to regulate the labeling of dietary
c.1995 The Health Keepers Journal and the Law Loft
Notice and warning regarding copyright restrictions: no reproduction or
excerpt of this material may be made, reproduced or circulated unless the
material is identified as an article from the Health Keeper's Journal,
volume 2, number 10, october 1995 written by Suzanne Harris, J. D. of the
For further information about subscriptions to the Health Keeper's Journal
and about reprints of this and other Health Keepers Journal articles about
health legislation and/or GATT, write or fax to:
Health Keeper's Journal
880 Canarios Court
Chula Vista, California 91910
FAX (619) 482-4485?
Saul Kent read the article by Suzanne Harris which I posted in message
number 47868 in this newsgroup, and he will be interviewing her soon for
an in depth article on the subject of Codex and the international threat
it poses to our health freedom. Saul wants me to link with as many people
as possible in different countries for the purpose of forming an
international coalition to oppose the Codex Alimentarious Commission's
efforts to destroy our health freedom. I am in touch with some people in
other countries, most notably Canada, Norway and England, but need
assistance with this. You'll understand what I'm talking about if you read
message 47867. We haven't reported on this threat yet in the magazine
because we only recently found out about it through a leak on the other
side who called my attention to it. Although Suzanne's article
specifically relates the Codex activities to the US, what she reports
applies just as much to Canada, and the implications are chilling. I urge
everyone reading this to go back and read message number 47867 and help
get a threat going on it because its a threat that no one can afford to
Mark Jensen (mjensen at crl.com) wrote:
Big feud between CERI and LEF. They have been going at it for years. You
can get CERI's version in some of the back issues of their newsletter. For
those of us who don't have access to this material, could you please post
a brief summary of CERI's version. Thank you.
More information about the Ageing